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Help with CFA-635 for a Hardware Review

3lfk1ng

New member
Hello Crystalfontz and Crystalfontz Forum users,

My name is Drew, and I am an editor of computer-hardware/computer-mod review website.

I come to these forums asking for help and to gather information for a review.

One of the first products that we would like to review is the Crystalfontz 635.

I purchased the full kit with the S.C.A.B. board and currently have it plugged in using the external USB cable.
Unfortunately the product arrived with no instructions or additional information as other review sites have mentioned so I come to you guys for additional assistance (the online manual is not working at the moment). I have 4 temperature probes throughout my case (PSU, Memory, Memory Heatsink, Hard Drive C)none of which function yet and currently only 2 of the 4 fan connectors are occupied.

So far here is what I have. Some things could use some help:

  • The fans are monitored by RPM and I have yet to be able to configure the temperature probes. Is there a way that I can raise and lower the Fan Speeds through the CFA-635 controls on the front or through CrystalControl 2? Also, how can I get the S.C.A.B. to start monitoring my temperatures. How can I get my fan speed to change as the temperature rises?
  • I am unable to get any GPU information be be displayed (Does this require ATI tray tools?) I would like to be able to view the Temp, the GPU clock speed. and any Memory information, perhaps even the PCB temp. Is there a solution that will allow me to view this information?
  • I have the CPU usage being monitored on both cores.
  • I have memory usage being monitored.
  • Also, every time I restart my computer the Contrast goes back to default which makes the screen hard to view straight on (The contrast makes the text nearly invisible). Then I have to manually move it to the correct position in order to view it properly. How can I preserve the setting?
I'm currently using CrystalControl 2 Release-Date 12/25/2006 Build.832.

What I need from you guys:
1) What are some interesting ways to setup the 4 LED's and have them operate properly with each time I shut down my computer? I know they can show CPU usage and Mem usage...but I have yet to get it worth being any bit functional (compared to just looking at CPU/ MEM usage on the screen), and are there any other uses the LED's can provide?
2) I would like to display Dynamic Information from Games similar to the functionality of the Logitech G-15,is this physically possible? (World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike : Source)
3) Are there 3rd party programs that offer additional functionality that is unattainable through CrystalControl 2? Which ones do you use? Which one would you highly recommend?
4) What are some plug-ins that you highly recommend? What functionality do they offer?
5) Is there a way for the Display to generate Images such as Company Logos? Flash files? Etc? Gifs? (I konw it supports gifs, but I have had no luck with it so far, does anyone have any ideas?
6) How can I change the boot screen permanently? Can the CFA-635 display any dynamic information while the system is booting? Can it show POST CODES?
7) Can the CFA-635 display PSU usage?
8) Can it display Ventrilo/ Teamspeak information?
9) Does anyone have anything that they would like to add that would make the review more interesting?

Please be as specific as possible about any setup/configuration details because I may provide a link to this post in the review for other users to read.
Anyone who helps with utmost sincerity will be thanked and upon permission thanked for your time at the end of the review on our website.

At the end of the review, links will be provided for all owners of the CFA-635 so that they know where/how to get a hold of the resources that we used in the review.

Thanks to all of you who help,
~3lfk1ng

P.S. I used to attend the Crystalfontz sponsored Spoklan event at the Budget Inn when I lived in Spokane, Wa. That's how I first heard about you guys, keep up the good work!
Looking for additional LCD resources? Check out our LCD blog for the latest developments in LCD technology.
 
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CF Tech

Administrator
Thank you for your message.

Generally, you would want to use 635_WinTest to make sure all the hardware is correct:

1) Get 635_WinTest here:

http://www.crystalfontz.com/software/635WinTestindex.html

2) Stop CC2, and run 635_WinTest

3) Check operation of fans and temperatures using 635_WinTest

4) You can use 635_WinTest to adjust the contrast, then user the packet debugger to send command 4. That will make the adjusted contrast the default.

Once the hardware is verified, close 635_WinTest, and start CC2.

I will ask the CC2 folks to help you from there--I am not strong in CC2.
 

3lfk1ng

New member
Thank you for your assistance CF Tech, I ran 635_WinTest and everything is operating flawlessly.

Quick Questions:
What is the box in the bottom right Log to "635_log.csv used for? What does it do?
What purpose does "Setup Live Display" serve as?
What is Control GPIO used for?

Anyways,
I think it's just a matter of displaying it in the que and finding out which temperature probes in my case are in what order.
 
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CF Tech

Administrator
The log button logs whatever is shown in the packet debugger to a CSV file. Just for debugging.

Live display is a rarely used method to have the LCD show temperatures and or fans on the LCD without a host program being involved. I am not sure that it is even available on the CFA-635, it might be a hold-over in the test software.

You could connect some external devices to the GPIO pins, and control them with custom host software. Since LEDs were the most common thing connected, in the CFA-635 we just built in LEDs from the start.
 

jc634

Administrator
Hmmm. Tall Order. Anymore, it would be helpful to know what operating system you are using. So..., which one (XP or Vista)?

Next, A beginning answer to your questions are shown in red below. These answers will probably generate more questions. Also, other users/CF people may have more input, also. Please chime in!


  • The fans are monitored by RPM and I have yet to be able to configure the temperature probes. Is there a way that I can raise and lower the Fan Speeds through the CFA-635 controls on the front or through CrystalControl 2? Also, how can I get the S.C.A.B. to start monitoring my temperatures. How can I get my fan speed to change as the temperature rises?
Open the CC2 config program (from the tray). Open the Help Contents from the menu. CCadmin has a very nice section on how to set-up the SCAB module there.
  • I am unable to get any GPU information be be displayed (Does this require ATI tray tools?) I would like to be able to view the Temp, the GPU clock speed. and any Memory information, perhaps even the PCB temp. Is there a solution that will allow me to view this information?
You can use ATI Tray Tools or RivaTuner. However, there seems to some changes (I think) to later versions of Riva that have caused CC2 to no longer be able to read Riva data. Not sure about that, since I have not Riva for quite awhile. If you use Everest, you can obtain GPU info from this program, also.
  • I have the CPU usage being monitored on both cores.
  • I have memory usage being monitored.
  • Also, every time I restart my computer the Contrast goes back to default which makes the screen hard to view straight on (The contrast makes the text nearly invisible). Then I have to manually move it to the correct position in order to view it properly. How can I preserve the setting?
How are you setting Brightness/Contrast? Settings are not saved if you are using the slider bar from the tray. You must change B/C directly from inside the actual config program. Settings will be saved when you change them here.

I'm currently using CrystalControl 2 Release-Date 12/25/2006 Build.832.

What I need from you guys:
1) What are some interesting ways to setup the 4 LED's and have them operate properly with each time I shut down my computer? I know they can show CPU usage and Mem usage...but I have yet to get it worth being any bit functional (compared to just looking at CPU/ MEM usage on the screen), and are there any other uses the LED's can provide?

Any parameter that you can monitor in CC2 can be channeled to the LED's. CPU usage, Network bandwidth, HD space are just a few of the things that I have played with. Some are neat, some are boring. Guess which fall in which category.;)

Check out this thread on how to program LED's: https://forum.crystalfontz.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=4322.


2) I would like to display Dynamic Information from Games similar to the functionality of the Logitech G-15,is this physically possible? (World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike : Source)

No idea, don't have a G-15 (I have the 3200, if that has the same function, I do not know). Maybe CCAdmin can help here?

3) Are there 3rd party programs that offer additional functionality that is unattainable through CrystalControl 2? Which ones do you use? Which one would you highly recommend?

I'm not sure of all at the moment. I will have to try and compile a list (under #4 below), unless CCAdmin has a quicker list to access than I.

4) What are some plug-ins that you highly recommend? What functionality do they offer?

Perhaps 3 and 4 can be considered the same question? Perhaps you could elaborate on #3?

5) Is there a way for the Display to generate Images such as Company Logos? Flash files? Etc? Gifs? (I konw it supports gifs, but I have had no luck with it so far, does anyone have any ideas?

Gifs of specific sizes only. This forum: https://forum.crystalfontz.com/showthread.php?t=4257 is your friend regarding ready-made screens, examples, instructions, etc. From there, ask specific questions.

6) How can I change the boot screen permanently? Can the CFA-635 display any dynamic information while the system is booting? Can it show POST CODES?

Thru Wintest. There are several posts regarding this. Search the forums for Wintest. FWIW, this is more CF Tech's area of expertise.:)


7) Can the CFA-635 display PSU usage?

What PSU data are you looking for. Speedfan or Everest can read fan RPM data, if you plug the tach connector into the MB. Other than that, I'm not sure what else there is to glean from the PSU. If by usage, you mean current power level, I do not believe so.

8) Can it display Ventrilo/ Teamspeak information?

No.

9) Does anyone have anything that they would like to add that would make the review more interesting?

Sorry, I'm not in Marketing! :p I would refer you back to the User Screen Libray, tho. Lots of ideas for what you might want to display on your LCD are documented there. https://forum.crystalfontz.com/forumdisplay.php?f=26.

Perhaps the one thing... CF displays and CC2 (in the consumer world) are for the computer enthusiast. CF displays are easy to set-up (easy for me to say!:rolleyes: ). Actually, they are. CC2 is at a point where it is almost quite easy to setup and use. However, these items are not for everyone. If you like to tinker, display computer HW data, etc., this is one of the more powerful HW/SW combinations you will find. It does not do everything, but what does?

BTW, what do I mean by not everyone? My wife, for example, who thinks I am quite crazy (computer nerd) at times!:D Actually, she is one of the majority of everyday users who just want to search the internet, balance the checkbook, listen to MP3's, etc. and who could care less about CPU usage, overclocking, temps, etc. The PC is just a means to an end, or quite simply a simple tool, whether at work or at home. Dell loves those kind of people. The kind of computer I use at work (high end CAD machine) and the kind of computer I get my kids for HS graduation gifts. 2 down and 2 to go!
 

CF Mark

Administrator
Ok, Jim has covered most of it.

A lot of what you have asked is answered in the manual which Jim has pointed out, can be found from the help menu in CC2, or online here:
http://www.crystalfontz.com/software/crystalcontrol2/manual/

You can find information on displaying gaming information here:
http://www.crystalfontz.com/software/crystalcontrol2/manual/game-setup.html

3) Are there 3rd party programs that offer additional functionality that is unattainable through CrystalControl 2? Which ones do you use? Which one would you highly recommend?
4) What are some plug-ins that you highly recommend? What functionality do they offer?
Ill make up a list.

Is there any other info you would like?
 

3lfk1ng

New member
@jc634
Thank you so much for your help and I'm sorry that I failed to mention that I am using WinXPpro SP2.

I too am quite the nerd, that's why I'm starting a hardware review website. Sometimes my girlfriend walks around the corner and catches me staring at other motherboards, hehe.


Anyways to elaborate upon some of my information:
How are you setting Brightness/Contrast? Settings are not saved if you are using the slider bar from the tray. You must change B/C directly from inside the actual config program. Settings will be saved when you change them here.
Yes, I was using the slider. How can I access the config?

Perhaps you could elaborate on #3? (3rd party programs)
http://www.crystalfontz.com/links/index.html Do you suggest any of these for the CFA-635 or do you have experience with any of them?

Perhaps you could elaborate on #4? (Additional Plug-Ins)
Sort of like the additional plug-ins that come with CC2, such as the user contributed, or WinAmp, or speedfan. I was just wondering if there are any other plug-ins available that don't come with CC2 that users such as myself would be interested in that aren't available on Crystalfontz.com?
The reason why I ask is because the LCD driver for the Logitech G-15 keyboard is open-source and many users have contributed their own mods. There is a Counter-Strike G-15 mod there is even an entire forum setup for g-15 mods.

If by usage, you mean current power level, I do not believe so.

Yes, I meant power. Oh well

I can't wait to hear from the rest of the Team as well as the other forum members.

@CrystalControl Admin

Thank you much.

Ill make up a list.
I'll be looking forward to it.

Is there any other info you would like?

Whatever unique information that you could provide me with would be great.
 

Heffo

New member
1) What are some interesting ways to setup the 4 LED's and have them operate properly with each time I shut down my computer? I know they can show CPU usage and Mem usage...but I have yet to get it worth being any bit functional (compared to just looking at CPU/ MEM usage on the screen), and are there any other uses the LED's can provide?
What I do with the LEDs on my 635 is a slight variation on the CPU usage theme. I tie a single LED into the usage of a single thread in my P4 (with Hyperthreading). This could be expanded out to a single LED per core with 2x Dual Core CPUs, or all 4 cores in a Quad Core CPU. Personally I find this kind of indication of CPU usage much more interesting than text saying 'CPU Load : x%', especially since windows seems to shuffle hungry processes around the cores instead of binding it to a single core.

Regards
Robert Heffernan
 

CF Mark

Administrator
I think ive covered the main information gathering plugins...

Code:
Available CC2 Information via Plugins:
	Crystalfontz LCD Information (modules: 633, 631 + SCAB, 635 + SCAB)
		Temperature sensor information (current temp, min/max temps)
		Fan information (fan setting %, fan RPM, min/max RPM, etc)
	Windows System Performance Monitor (aka, Perfmon):
		Windows OS information (version, etc)
		CPU (speed, usage, idle time, etc)
		Memory (usage, etc)
		Page file (usage, etc)
		Disk drives (total space, space usage, disk usage time, per drive/partition, etc)
		Networking (usage, bandwidth, packets/sec, per protocol, etc)
		USB (usage, etc)
		Printing (print queue length, etc)
		Server information (http, ftp, database statistics)
	Windows Management Interface (WMI):
		Supplies similar information to Perfmon.
	SMART Device Information:
		SMART drive status (ok/bad, error rates, etc).
	SysTool:
		Hardware monitoring (temperatures, fan speeds, etc)
		Overclocking information
	ATI Tray Tools (ATI & nVidia video card information):
		Current FPS
		Video memory usage
		GPU & memory speeds
		Temperature & fan monitoring
		Current video settings (resolution, 3D settings, etc)
	Internet Gaming:
		Server information (game name, map name, server IP, server description, max players, etc)
		Current player information (name, kills, deaths, score, ping, etc)
		Best player information (name, kills, deaths, score, ping, etc)
	Winamp2:
		Media information (title, length, current position, codec, etc)
		VU meters (animated)
		Spectrum analyzer (2 types, animated)
	Foobar2000:
		Media information (title, length, current position, codec, etc)
		VU meters (animated)
		Spectrum analyzer (2 types, animated)	
	Internet / Text file reader:
		Displays information from any website, text file
	Network Statistics:
		Ping times to host/IP
		Route jumps to host/IP
	Process Information:
		Acquires data from any running application/process (spy's on data memory).
	Time/Date:
		Current time & date information
 

CF Mark

Administrator
Good to see the review is finally up :)
A couple of things...

"All the programming is completely available to the open source community"
Actually, CC2 is not open source. Source code for a couple of plugins is available as a guide for people to write their own plugins.

"The online manual can be difficult to find the first time."
The online manual is also packaged in the CC2 installer.
In CC2 use the Help menu ("Help Contents") to view the same manual without being on the net.
 
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